Business Today - - THE BUZZ - – Manu Kaushik

THE WAIT FOR THE air pas­sen­ger char­ter is get­ting longer. Re­ports sug­gest that do­mes­tic air­lines have ob­jected to the char­ter’s ex­treme fo­cus on pas­sen­ger rights. The draft char­ter im­poses strict penal­ties on air­lines for de­lays and can­cel­la­tions. It also man­dates that air­lines make com­pen­sa­tion pay­outs for any in­con­ve­nience to pas­sen­gers. With em­pha­sis on pro­vi­sion for fa­cil­i­ties such as in-flight wifi, ex­perts ar­gue that this may see air­lines in­creas­ing fees – some­thing that they can’t af­ford to do in the cur­rent cli­mate.

The other ob­jec­tion arises from de­ter­min­ing the rea­sons be­hind flight de­lays, which are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing com­mon at metro air­ports be­cause of con­ges­tion and, oc­ca­sion­ally, weather con­di­tions. Com­pet­i­tive air fares have made fly­ing more ac­ces­si­ble to the masses and also re­sulted in stu­pen­dous growth in do­mes­tic air traf­fic – 20.94 per cent year-on-year growth till Sep­tem­ber. It is time that the gov­ern­ment takes a bal­anced ap­proach to­wards im­ple­ment­ing the long-pend­ing char­ter.

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